Wolves cub Ryan Giles is determined to keep his shirt in more ways than one after making his England Under-20s debut on a special night at Shrewsbury Town.
The 19-year-old played 66 minutes of the 0-0 draw for Keith Downing’s side against the Netherlands at the Montgomery Waters Meadow, where he has been an ever-present for the League One host team this season as part of his season-long loan there.
Players often swap shirts after games but Giles has vowed to keep his after a proud and memorable evening for him and for his family. “I think I’ll keep the England shirt as it’s a special day and something to put in the memory books,” said Giles. “To make my international debut and get international cap tops it all off. All my family were here – my dad, my mum, brother, my grandad. The support from them has been fantastic all the way through my journey.
“I can’t thank them enough because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve had some good highlights through my career so far, like making my debut for Wolves, playing for Shrewsbury and now making my debut for England. It’s all going well so I’ve just got to keep going and working hard.”
Playing for his country at his temporary home and in his home county made it even more special for Giles. “It was brilliant to play here and I got an excellent reception which was really nice,” said the Telford-born player. “That gave me a boost to go into that game and it was really nice to play here.”
Giles relished the experience and in a more advanced position to the wing back role he has occupied for Wolves Under-23s and Sam Ricketts’s Shrews. This time he played wide left in a 4-2-3-1 line-up for former Wolves midfielder Keith Downing, who was making his debut as Under-20s coach after being promoted from the Under-19s.
“It’s new to me coming into England and playing in a new system and playing in a position I’m not used to playing,” added Giles. “I’ve been playing wing-back with Shrewsbury but I’ve enjoyed it. I was happy with my performance and thought I did well. It was a good game and I thought Holland were exceptionally good on the ball and they got us working.”
It’s turning out to be a year of firsts for Giles, who scored a 25-yard wonder goal on his debut, the only goal to win the opening-day clash against Kenny Jackett’s Portsmouth. After making his senior debut for Wolves against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup in February, the youngster has been a regular on Town’s left flank since and has now broken into the England Under-20 squad.
But he appears grounded and determined to take it all in his stride. “It’s just a case of keep working hard and I’m learning every day, whether that is with Shrewsbury or with England,” he said. “I’ve come to Shrewsbury and I’ve learnt so much over the last couple of months. Gelling with different people and learning off other people which is making me better. It’s a case of keep just keep going, keep doing as well as I can, and once I’ve come away from my spell with England, I’ll come back here and keep going.”
The England squad is packed with exceptional players and it’s an environment that Giles thinks will help him to develop.
“There are some really exceptional players on the ball and that helps you and makes you better on the ball as well,” added Giles. “There are different things I need to work on but all the attributes I’ve got from both England and Shrewsbury will hopefully make me a better player.”
After Giles caught the eye early on, the Dutch grew into the game and England keeper Josef Bursik was forced into a good save to deny Lars Kramer.
Albion striker Jonathan Leko led the line impressively for England while Chelsea’s on-loan Charlton midfielder Conor Gallagher battled hard in the centre of the pitch, Che Nunnely catching the eye for the visitors.
England started the second half sharper, Manchester City’s on-loan Luton prospect Luke Bolton crossing from the right but the chance came to nothing.
Downing made a double change just after the hour mark, with Reading’s Wolves target Danny Loader and Leeds’s Jack Clarke both introduced.
And it was the hosts who finished stronger but failed to carve out a chance of any real note in front of the 2,578-strong crowd.
England: 1 Josef Bursik (Accrington Stanley – on loan from Stoke), 2 Tariq Lamptey (Chelsea), 3 Brandon Williams (Manchester United), 4 Conor Gallagher (Chelsea, on loan at Charlton), 5 Joel Latibeaudiere (Manchester City), 6 Japhet Tanganga (Tottenham), 7 Luke Bolton (Luton – on loan from Manchester City), 8 Andre Dozzell (Ipswich), 9 Jonathan Leko (Albion), 10 Angel Gomes (Manchester United), 11 Ryan Giles (Shrewsbury Town – on loan from Wolves).
Substitutes: Danny Loader (Reading) on for Giles 66, Jack Clarke (Leeds – on loan from Tottenham) on for Leko 66.
Subs not used: Thomas McGill (Brighton & Hove Albion), Marcus Tavernier (Middlesbrough), Jamie Shackleton (Leeds United), Callum Slattery (Southampton), Luke Thomas (Barnsley), Lewis Gibson (Everton), Nathan Ferguson, Josh Griffiths (both Albion).